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Front Page - Friday, February 27, 2015

Faux stacked log fireplace fa├žade

Do It Yourself

April Sherrill

My dad still lives in the same house he purchased when I was twelve years old. Although this home is not technically my childhood home, I do consider it that. I love that house; it holds all of my middle school and high school memories and life lessons in the walls (thank goodness walls can’t talk). One of my favorite things about this home is the huge fireplace that sits in the middle of the living room. 

Not too long ago my dad needed to board up the fireplace, and now it just looks miserable. He said they never used it and it caused a draft in the home. Although, I understand his need for boarding the fireplace, the big piece of raw plywood lacks any personality.

I have made it my new personal mission to find him a more cohesive plan for his fireplace than a piece of plywood. There is no reason the beauty of the fireplace needs to be compromised even though it needs to be covered. 

That is when I came across a faux-stacked log façade to fit the front of the fireplace. Bingo! I love the thought of this for his area; really, I love the thought of it for my home as well. I am thinking it would be great to have in front of the fireplace when it is not in use instead of the ridiculously heavy cast iron screen we currently have. 

Items needed:

• approximately 50 various logs cut into 3 inch pieces

• piece of plywood cut to the measurements of your fireplace opening

• wood glue

• wood screws

• black matte spray paint

• bleach

The gathering of the logs could prove to be the most time consuming part of this project. You can really go with any log you prefer, but think birch or a lighter wood would work better than say redwood or oak; again this is completely up to you.

After gathering all the logs, it is time to cut the pieces up. The cuts look best with a chop saw, and will take maybe ten minutes to complete. One thing I want to point out is it is not necessary to do three inch logs, if you prefer you can do them shorter at one and half inches. To me, the three inches add much more depth than shorter pieces; however, the façade will be heavier. 

Once the logs are cut, allow the pieces to soak in bleach. I think the bathtub would be the easiest, but this can be done in anything as long as it is done. Do not skip this part. This will allow all of the nasty stuff and critters to leave the wood. After they have sat in bleach, let them sit in the sun for around two days to dry out.

Now, it is time to paint the piece of plywood. The measurements on this piece need to be exact as possible. The whole idea is for it to be completely flush with the sides of the fireplace so it will appear to be stacked logs in the fireplace. Any openings on the sides might not be as grand to the imagination. Also, make sure the paint is completely matte; there needs to be no shine in the paint.

Once the plywood is painted and the logs are cut, the project is close to completion. Next, simply start putting wood glue on the backs of the logs and place them on the side of the façade that has been painted black.

 Ideally, it would be easiest to figure out the placing beforehand so all areas are filled in well. Depending on the size of the opening on the fireplace will depend on how many logs you really need.

After all the logs are glued down on the plywood allow it to sit and dry for 24 hours. Wood glue is strong, so this alone would probably be enough but I like to make sure things are extra secure. Carefully flip the façade over and screw a wood screw in the back of the logs for extra support. 

Now it is time to fit the facade into the opening of the fireplace and sit back to admire the optical illusion of perfectly stacked logs in the fireplace.

This is a great way to add depth, texture, and coziness to an area. It is simple to remove if the fireplace needs to be used and once it has cooled down, it is simple to put back up. 

This is a great DIY project anyone can accomplish and sit back to enjoy!

April Sherrill is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald. Contact her at april@dailydata.com.